I thought long and hard before writing this post because I do not like to write posts that are overly negative. The deciding factor for me was when I had two clients call me over the past two weeks to complain about the exact issue raised in this post.
The notice that you see above is becoming more common in San Carlos. It’s the second time in a week that some neighborhoods in San Carlos have been solicited in aggressive door-to-door campaigns by real estate agents. In a more extreme case, clients of mine in the White Oaks area called to say that they were awakened at 8:30 on a Sunday morning by an agent banging on the front door telling them that he could sell their house for them because he had buyers looking in the White Oaks area. Based on my observations in San Carlos over the past four weeks, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that this type of activity is on the rise.
Understanding the Pitch
These types of solicitations always start the same way. The agent will start by saying that he or she has a buyer looking in your neighborhood and there is simply not enough inventory to appease the client. They will also state that the client is very well-qualified and ready to make you an offer that will be hard to refuse. The goal of the agent is to get his or her foot in the door. They may or may not actually have a buyer.
There is a chance that everything is completely legitimate with the offer, but my personal experience with these types of solicitations is that few actually live up to the hype.
Be Suspicious if:
(1) The letter or pitch is to San Carlos in general, and not a specific area. The vast majority of people seriously looking in San Carlos are set on one or two areas, not the entire city.
(2) The nature of the agent is overly aggressive.
(3) The agent is not local.
(4) The agent does not list his or her DRE# on the material or business card
(5) The conversation turns out to be more about listing your home, rather than finding a home for his or her unknown buyer
As with any type of major transaction, due diligence is key. I conducted my own due diligence on the pitch from a few of the agents involved, including the one that had disturbed my client on that Sunday morning. According to our home MLS site, not only had neither of those agents ever had a successful listing transaction in San Carlos, but neither had ever closed a listing anywhere on the peninsula.
Understanding the Difference
Other San Carlos agents and I, myself, have been in the position where you have a buyer who only wants to live on a certain block or a certain street in San Carlos. They will ask you to see if anyone would be interested in selling in that confined area. This is generally done by sending out a well-structured, informative and defined letter to those owning a home in the desired area. The one point I want to make clear is that it’s not the marketing that many people, including myself, have a problem with. Everyone needs to start somewhere. Rather it’s the overly aggressive nature of the solicitation. It makes people uncomfortable and continues to put a darker mark on a profession that already has a reputation which could use some improvement.